Back at it | Returning to strength training

It’s amazing how quickly you can get out of the habit of working out, I have been so busy with dog-walking and leading Nordic Walking sessions that the strength training sort of fell by the wayside just before the Dukeries 40 and it’s taken me this long to get back to an organised plan of action. ¬†It’s been said so many times that you have to make fitness a priority and that is certainly true.

If you have fallen off the workout wagon like I have, don’t waste your time and energy moaning about it–make an appointment with yourself and KEEP it! It doesn’t have to be a massive amount of time and you certainly should resist the urge to overdo it on the first one back, DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) isn’t fun for anyone especially on the second and third day after.

Back at it

For my return to strength training I used the workout above after I did a 20 minute warm-up run, I also opted for the :20/:10 intervals because I couldn’t be arsed to count the reps ūüėÄ ¬†This was a good mix of strength, cardio, plyometrics, core and upper body yet was well under 30 minutes counting my rest times between each 4 minute set.

Running for the sheer joy of it

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I’m in a bit of a recovery mode from the Dukeries 40 at the moment, no races or events planned so no pressure to ‘train’ at the moment ūüôā

One of my Wednesday dog-walking appointments is for a very active Cocker Spaniel that I do a run/walk with. He loves the water, he loves bounding through tall grass and stopping to stare at the cows and sheep, and most of all he simply loves to RUN, bonus points if he gets to run THROUGH water!  Every session with him leaves me grinning ear to ear because it reminds me running is a joy and a privilege that should never be taken for granted.

Yesterday was one of those grey misty days that seem tailor-made for running in wooded areas. The trees shrouding the trails kept us protected from the hardest of the rain yet allowed in just enough to keep us cool. ¬†The mist deadened our footsteps and muted the bird-song and made it seem like we were the only ones in the forest. Up and down, leaping over exposed roots, splashing through the muddy puddles, and zooming this way or that around the trees–every so often Handsome Hugo would stop and gaze at me, both of us grinning from the sheer joy of what we were doing. ¬†Running doesn’t get much better than this in my very humble opinion.

Every so often it’s important to forget about what the training plan says to do and just do the sort of run that makes you the happiest, whether it’s road or trail, easy amble or full-out sprint, sunny or rainy. ¬†Don’t worry and stress about the time, distance, or pace. ¬†Get out and run for the sheer joy of it.

Dukeries 40

So the Wilmot Wander wasn’t a one-off, I feel slightly less like a fraud when I call myself an ultra-runner with having made it to the finish line of the Dukeries 40 yesterday! Can’t say that it was my finest day of running but I’m extremely pleased to have toughed it out and finished.

I do think I have figured out the best way to calm pre-race jitters! My friend Nicole (who also was the one who talked me into this madness and gifted me with entry into the Dukeries) had volunteered to arrive early and help out as needed so instead of sitting around I decided to do so as well. We were put on car park marshalling duties and had lots of fun donning the high-vis and directing the other runners where to park up.  Totally took my mind off the craziness of daring to attempt to run 40 miles!

The event itself is both somewhat a blur and very clear…I’m not sure that makes any sense but it’s the way my crazy brain is processing it. ¬†The scenery was gorgeous, we ran through Sherwood Pines, Clumber Park, Creswell Crags, rapeseed fields, a handful of villages, and the same water crossing at just after the first mile as the Dukeries 10 (a bit naughty that!).

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So to continue, here are a few of my random thoughts about yesterday aka I kind of lost the plot when it came to writing the race report!

GOOD: Ronnie/HOBO Pace puts on a top-notch event. Laid back but some of the best bling with a bespoke medal and a race vest that actually fits.  Also the best ever pre-race briefings!

GOOD:  Gorgeous route through forests

BAD: Having to find a tree/trees to hide behind when you need a loo stop.  Which I had to do FIVE freaking times starting at around mile 6.

GOOD:  Absolutely fantastic volunteers, one of which sorted me out with kitchen roll to stop the very impressive bleeding I had on my legs from bramble scratches due to the first dive into the woods and she made sure to check on me again with the 2nd stop at the aid station.

BAD:  I managed to get bramble scratches on my bum as well as my legs, OWIE!

GOOD:  Well stocked aid stations with jam and peanut butter sandwiches, the usual fare of jelly bellys and biscuits as well as savoury in the form of Hula Hoops crisps. There was also water, squash, coffee, and coca-cola available.  The latter is what saved me, it was the only drink that I could manage to get down after the 3rd trip to the woods.

GOOD:  The other runners, lots of chit-chat and encouragement.

BAD:  The field thinned out somewhat after the 30 milers split off so there were some long solo sections which in hindsight was not so bad because it offered a bit more privacy in my gut-wrenching (literally) and mardy moments.

GOOD:  Beautiful sunny day.

BAD:  A little bit of sunburn on my shoulders!

GOOD:  The ever-changing scenery kept things interesting

BAD:  A wee bit too much tarmac to suit me for that distance.

GOOD:  A (mostly) very well-marked course with the tape and the hot pink spray painted dots and arrows.

BAD: ¬†There were a handful of places that could have done with one of the pink arrows. On one of them a group of cyclists saved me from going the wrong way and out of a mess of nettles that another runner ended up in. Some of us are a bit more directionally challenged than others ūüė¶

GOOD:  The First Aid Responders on cycles were very friendly and took the time to encourage the runners and ask if we were ok.

BAD:  My right calf tightened up just before the first aid station and it made running slightly uncomfortable (understatement) on the areas with uneven ground.

BAD:  Getting a rock in my shoe and when I stopped to remove it I re-laced my trainer too tight which has left me with a very sore spot on the top of my left foot (total rookie mistake).

GOOD:  The other runners giving encouragement during the last few miles as we made our way to the finish.

GOOD:  THE FINISH LINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GOOD:  The blissful cup of tea after I hobbled my way over the finish line

THE BEST:  The support of my running club mates. Priceless. But now we need a mascot!

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Well done to Andrew, Nicole, Caz, Ian, Lora, Daniel, and Richard, my clubmates who also ran the Dukeries 30 and 40 yesterday!!!!

The boring stuff:  40.7 miles in 7:32:58

 

The Stute BDL

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And they are off!

Tuesday. It’s May so that means it’s time for The Stute BDL, the 2nd league race of the summer and the one my running club hosts. Definite unsummerlike temps made for a faster time than the previous 2 years but like clockwork I started needing the loo at just past the halfway point–I don’t know what it is about this course that does it to me but it always does. ¬†I suppose it’s because it’s a flat route and therefore faster than what my body is used to running which means I need to be doing more speed-work.

Per my watch I managed 39:33 for the 5.23 mile route, token 204–still can’t break that sub-200 finish. ¬†The last bit of the race one of my club mates was right with me and I was trying to push her on to sprint ahead. The last .23 mile was done at a 6:52 pace and I fully expected her to pip me at the finish line, however the clubmates of the guy just in front of us started yelling at him about not letting the girls pass him and one cannot let that go!

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I can occasionally manage a good impression of being a runner

Good race but I really don’t like the course–mostly because we run it quite a lot–the marshals are top-notch but I’m a bit biased (yay, Ilkeston Running Club!) ūüôā Now to take it somewhat easy for the rest of the week and get ready for the Dukeries 40 on Saturday.

Another ‘Fun Run’

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Will run for Digestives!

This week has been a tough one training wise, for some reason I decided that all my (non-dog walking) run sessions should be threshold runs. Don’t ask why, I’m not quite sure why myself other than I just felt like pushing harder than usual…perhaps it was a side-effect of all the marathon tapering done by so many of my facebook and running club mates ūüôā Between the faster-paced workouts and not having a walking/Nordic Walking/running mileage week of under 40 miles (average has been 50 mpw) since mid-February I think it’s safe to say that my legs are probably ready to declare emancipation.

However one cannot pass up an opportunity to do a cheap as chips 5k that’s within running distance…never mind that the route itself is not a particularly easy one. The last mile is mostly all uphill and I pretty much lost the plot on it. My splits went from 7:09 (first mile is downhill, with the first .5 mile being quite a sharp descent), 7:38 for the 2nd, to 8:16 for the last–not good! Today’s stats: 43/543, 8th woman, 1st WV40+, 23:53 gun time, 23:47 chip time.

Well done to all the club members who raced today! Since I’ve finished up my ‘fun run’ I’ve been refreshing the VLM tracking page to watch the progress of my running mates, some amazing times have been posted.

Bramcote 5k 2016

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I run a bit of distance and I enjoy it but I’m also one of those odd runners whose favourite distance to race is 5k. ¬†Yes, I said it, I LIKE 5ks! I especially like 5ks that are inclusive and don’t cost an arm and a leg to enter, the Bramcote 5k & 2k Fun Run ticked off both those boxes.

Add in chipped timing with mats for both start and finish, enthusiastic marshals and volunteers, a pretty course with a few inclines to keep things interesting, a medal for the bling collectors, and a banana at the finish and this one is near perfect. The only thing not so nice was the dropping temperature throughout the evening but that’s English weather for you and it does make for good conditions once you are actually running.

My right calf was feeling a bit tight from the previous night’s running club hill relay session so I had no expectations of time…pretty much settled into a comfortably hard pace and smiled for every camera I spied ūüôā

Imagine my surprise when I started approaching the finish line and noticed the timer showing 22:58…Not terribly far off of my 5k parkrun pb on a much flatter course. Of course the counter clicked over to 23:02 before I crossed the mats, makes me wish I’d pushed a wee bit harder! Final numbers: 23:02 gun time, 22:55 chip time, 31/181 overall, 6th place woman, and 4th in the female V40 category. Not bad for not racing…Well, not racing until on the final push in and realised I could pass another woman (not competitive then, lol).

What is your preferred race distance?

 

 

Could you…

…save a life by administering first aid until an ambulance arrived? ¬†A running club mate recently did just that by administering CPR when someone collapsed at the sports centre we meet up at for our Tuesday and Thursday night runs. ¬†You always hope there is someone around that has those types of skills but in reality we all should take a basic first aid course so we can be that someone. ¬†Thankfully she was there and stepped up to do what was needed that evening.

I had taken a Red Cross basic first aid course in the states because it was required for my RRCA running coach certification but honestly I hadn’t retained as much from it as what I should have–a very good reminder why it’s essential to revise and re-certify regularly. ¬†However the recent actions of the running friend in the aforementioned incident and a couple of running acquaintances that had suffered a heart attack/sudden cardiac death meant that on Sunday’s course I paid far more attention to the instructor and very actively took part in the hands-on training. ¬†I’m still going to be queasy and feel faint when it comes to the sight other people’s blood and vomit but at least I feel confident about administering CPR if it’s needed now.

If you’re not trained in First Aid please consider doing so and if you are make sure the certification is up to date and revise/study until you are confident about what to do in an emergency situation.

Teversal BDL

Our summer league has officially kicked off with decidedly un-summerlike conditions at Teversal. This has been amongst my favourite races because it isn’t all on tarmac and in previous years we would run up to the highest (manmade) point in Nottinghamshire which meant we had a huge downhill towards the finish. ¬†There was a change in course this year and while I was moaning over that initially it turned out not to be a bad change after all. There were a few tiny downhill switchbacks and it was a bit cross-countryesque courtesy of over 400 runners and a massive downpour a couple of hours before the start.

Can’t say that I’m terribly happy with my performance, I thought I had placed myself more towards the middle of the pack for a change but ended up near the back (my normal preferred placement) for the start and it was very difficult to get going, we even had a couple of dead stops right after the stop and it wasn’t because of stiles, not sure what the cause of it was though. ¬†There was a fair bit of weaving through other runners for the first mile something I really prefer not to do but I tried to keep to one side of the path while doing so.

Pacing was fairly abysmal, the first mile was 8:12 (too slow), followed by a 7:19 on the second (too fast), with a 7:32, 7:53, and 7:41 on the last 6/10.  36:01 for 4.63 miles, token 229 which would put me just a little further back than middle of the pack.  Will update when the official results are posted.  Overall I think the club did very well with some extremely fast times posted but it looks like the other clubs put out huge teams as well. I do look forward to seeing where we placed.

Delusions of Speed

 

Catchy title eh?

Last night I finally worked up the nerve to reclaim my place at the very back of the speedier group during our Thursday night club run. ¬†Since most of them are tapering for Manchester or entering the final phase of London marathon training it wasn’t going to be a terribly fast one for most so I felt somewhat secure in the knowledge that I wouldn’t be slowing anyone down too much or making them wait for long at the re-grouping points. ¬†All in all it went fairly well, I wasn’t even pushing at maximum effort to keep them in sight–just a nice comfortably hard pace for most of it (7.2 miles in 1:00:50). ¬†Of course once the marathons are over and the recovery is done that will be a different story altogether.

While we are on the subject of running speed, our club handicap was on Tuesday, the first one of the season for the summer course. I much prefer it to the winter course because you don’t have the tight turnaround nor the issue of trying to stay out of the way of the other runners on the pavement when it narrows down. ¬†Having the off road bit is always welcome because it takes your mind off of the lungs bursting-quads burning pace for at least a little while. ¬†I also usually pass people on this section as well because so many try to avoid the puddles and mud and I just plow straight through them (apologies to those who got splashed!). At 23:43 it was 24 very long seconds off of a pb but I was well pleased with the splits and pacing: 7:56, 7:29, 7:19, and 6:24 for the last .10 of a mile.

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Sprinting for the finish

Today’s title¬†came from a conversation with one of my running club mates who asked about my recovery from the fractured 5th metatarsal last night, I told him it was going well so long as I didn’t start having any delusions of speed ūüôā

Wolf’s Pit Fell Race

Another belated race report, the Wolf’s Pit Fell Race from the 20th of March…although I’m not sure you can call what I’m doing lately racing! It was an awesome day for it though, the first run I’ve done in months where my Reynaud’s beset toes actually warmed up–beautiful and sunny and yes even a wee bit warm once we started moving ūüôā

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While Wolf’s Pit wasn’t the first race I’ve done that required the mandatory kit under FRA rules of full waterproofs, hat, gloves, map, compass, and whistle it is the first one where I had the kit checked. Thankfully I’d finally remembered to order a compass the week prior so didn’t have to borrow one (thank you Amazon for the fast delivery!), I’d found a Montane taped waterproof jacket with hood for practically nothing on ebay (for some reason adding a hood to a jacket jacks the cost up by at least ¬£20) so didn’t have to borrow that again either, and while I couldn’t find a link to print the map off they did provide extra copies at race registration (whew).

I did manage to refrain from overdressing on this one: shorts, club vest, sleeves, and gloves. ¬†The sleeves did come off within a mile but the great thing about them is you don’t have to fuss about with your pack to get them off–and if you want a frugal way to try them out just find some knee or over the knee socks and cut the feet off, they work just as well as my more expensive made for purpose sleeves.

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Pic courtesy of Mossie Net Photography

Like all good fell races Wolf’s Pit goes up almost immediately. And up. Up some more. Then even more! ¬†This one is classified as an AS race–one of the more difficult locally–the A means it averages no less than 250 feet up per mile climbed and no more than 20% of the total distance being on road, S is for races under 6 miles. ¬†Needless to say I was hoping that my calf injury had finally healed up because this is where it would have gone TWANG! again. ¬†Fortunately it held out and I had no issues from it, partially from the warmer weather and that I’d carried along the travel size Stick (affiliate¬†link to similar) and rolled out my legs before the start.

Did I mention it goes up? We have the huge monster climb at the start then a series of small ups and downs before a moderate length of downhill then another shortish bit of climb. It’s at this point you can look down the valley and you can see the cars parked up in the field where the finish line is and one might be lulled into thinking the race was almost over…NOPE! We had another big climb and approximately 1.5 miles left. Totally cruel!

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Wolf’s Pit Strava

Since I was taking this one slightly more seriously than the previous fell race I can’t tell you anything detailed about the course other than it was really steep both up and down. There were some areas of picking your way down through the heather that I’m sure was beautiful and the views at the top were probably breathtaking in more than the climbing up a bloody long way but I wouldn’t know. ¬†I did take the time to tap the trig point as I went by. I also did my utmost best to smile and thank all the volunteers and other path users in between my gasps for air (not unlike a fish flopping about on the bank) so as to not totally frighten anyone with my run face.

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Another Mossie Net pic

It does seem funny now but the most soul-sucking climb of all was the little bitty one just past the ford and up into the field for the finish line!

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Why I run: Great friends, hot soup, and CAKE! 

Boring stat section:  210/262 overall, 5.71 miles in 1:07:54, 8th female/5th V40 in the Notts AAA Fell Running Championships. Nothing special but I finished and the same as before, major suckage on the ups and passed people on the downs.

Links to check out: